10 Tips for Flying with a Toddler Under 2
Flying with a toddler. A prospect that sends shivers down the spines of parents every where.
I've heard the stories.I've been on the flights.
From leaking nappies and temper tantrums to antisocial seat kicking and awkward stares, shit goes down with kids on planes.
In July we went on our first family holiday to Vienna, Austria. Harry was 13 months old and I was FREAKED OUT. What if he cries all the way? What if the altitude hurts his ears? What if he won't sit still? That fear was real.
BUT HE WAS FINE...
I couldn't believe it. There and back he was just fine. There was no prolonged screaming, no altercations with members of the general public. It was all okay. Now I know this doesn't mean that it's always going to be that way, but these 10 tips really helped us when flying with our 1 year old for the first time.
1. Pick Short FlightsYou can get from Edinburgh to Vienna in 2 hours 50 minutes. This was long enough. I hate flying for long periods of time as it is, but with a toddler who could kick off at any minute, the shorter the flight the better in my opinion. I'm sure there are brave souls out there who have tackled longer journeys with young kids, but for me, staying closer to home was worth it, especially when you factor in airport waiting times and travel either side.
2. Take a TabletWe were those pre-baby people who judged others who let their babies watch ipads. We were those bastards. Let me tell you, those bastards know nothing. Without doubt, we would not have had the stress free journey we had without the fabulous, beautiful, majestic bloody ipad (see below).
3. Download an Adult Friendly Kid's ShowOkay, we all know kids T.V is annoying as hell. It's loud and obnoxious and guess what, toddlers don't like headphones. 3 Words, Shaun the Sheep. THIS SAVED US. There's a feature length movie, 5 T.V series', a handful of 'special series' and guess what;
THERE'S NO VERBAL NARRATIVEThere's no talking, because sheep don't talk. It's absolutely spectacular. Download it in advance so the device can stay on airplane mode- happy days.
4. Read BooksI took about 5 books in Harry's hand luggage and we read them on takeoff and landing. It was a really good distraction for him and kept him quiet and happy during the most unsettling aspects of the flights.
5. Pack Some Small ToysAgain, these were great for when the tablet couldn't be used. We took a couple of push along cars, a model horse and general noise free objects to preserve the sanity of others around us...
...saying that, taking the advice of one of my friends I bought a toy aeroplane at duty free for the flight home. I wasn't so sure that Shaun the Sheep would have held his novelty. The toy plane was great, it made Harry sit still and play nice for a good 20 minutes with his new toy. It also had this button on top that made the loudest most shrill take off noise you've ever heard in your life but you know, I figured people would rather listen to that than a child screaming.
6. Bring a Present
7.Buy a Kids Lunch Box
They come with snacks your child has not seen before, they're themed (Ice Age with easyjet) and they have colouring pencils and activities. Harry was too young to appreciate the word searches but scribbling took a good five minutes. Add that to eating time and we have another half an hour killed. Perfect.
8. Bring a Cosy BlanketWe flew at 6am on the way out. We had to get Harry out of bed at like 3am and so I was pretty much banking on a sleepy first flight. And that's what we got. He fell asleep an hour in and stayed asleep for pretty much the remainder of the journey, wrapped in his blanket.
9. Bottle for Take off/LandingI was worried about the altitude and cabin pressure hurting Harry's ears because that's something I get and hate. I took a bottle and some stage 3 baby milk- you can take it through security- and just gave him it on takeoff and landing. The sucking really helped and he didn't seem to suffer from any pain at all.
10. Ask About Empty SeatsWay there? Your average baby belted to your lap scenario.
Way back? Harry got an upgrade and enjoyed his own seat all the way home. Me and Ed got moved too, obvs.
I don't know if they do it all the time but as our flight home had empty seats we were offered to move to a row of three where Harry could have his own seat after take off. This was so good because having them sat on you the whole time can be pretty uncomfortable.I would never have thought to ask about empty seats but would highly recommend asking to avoid a solid trip with a toddler strapped to you!
Hope you found these tips helpful. Let me know if you have any others and if you have any tips for travelling with older/younger kids too!